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Monday, August 27, 2012

Simmons: Red Sox Nation Hits the Reset Button

Personally, I think the Red Sox would have traded Gonzo, Beckett and Crawford for a used set of Vin Scully’s headphones and been totally fired up. Thankfully, GM Ben Cherington (ironically, a Theo protégé) fought for a much better haul. You can’t say enough about this trade from Boston’s perspective: In the span of 24 hours, we went from “How the hell are we ever going to be good again?” to “Wait, there’s a chance we’re going to be good again!” Even better, Boston’s front office might put some actual thought into 2013 instead of settling on being Yankees Farther East and just making it rain for the sake of making it rain.

 

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 27, 2012 at 07:40 PM | 57 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bill simmons, red sox

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: August 27, 2012 at 09:49 PM (#4219683)
Well, that excerpt is just silly although I don't suppose I should expect much insight out of Simmons. The notion that the pre-trade Sox had no chance of being good again is silly. And any rational assessment of that trade can't really think that those chances moved very much because of the trade -- I'd say whether they even improved is questionable.

The Sox cleared a ton of payroll and may have cleared some bad clubhouse air. They did lose substantial baseball talent in that trade though and the 2013 Sox currently look worse. The question is what they do with the payroll room. The answer that I see is that there's not talent available to spend that kind of money on. That suggests they'll either end up overpaying badly (possibly on worse players) or money going into Henry's pocket.

Some folks point to a trade for Justin Upton. I think Justin Upton is a fine player and I'd love to see the Cubs swing a trade for him. But he's a guy being called out by management, having a bad year with a concerning drop in power (which some folks suggest is due to injury). Isn't that a description of the guys they just cleared out? Regardless, Upton does not look like a savior. He's up to nearly 3000 PA and has a career 116 OPS+. He's an "old man" style hitter who doesn't actually add much on the bases and, while he's above-average for RF, that's not exactly a Mike Cameron level of defensive ability.* It's definitely possible Upton will go all Matt Kemp on the league in 2013-14 but, for now, he's a guy with 12 WAR over the last 4 years which is nice, but not franchise-changing and is about the same WAR pace as Gonzalez was on this year.

Don't get me wrong -- throw money into the equation and there's no way you wouldn't rather have Upton at 3/$39 than Gonzalez at 6/$130, that's not even close. So, by all means, if you can rip off Kevin Towers, rip off Kevin Towers. But is that really a move that would have been impossible without this trade? Dice-K, Jenks and Ross coming off the books was already $19 M.

But of course the Sox main problem (at least until Ortiz stops his Edgar impersonation) is the pitching. So what have we got ...

Mystery man Zach Greinke. The peripherals are awesome, even the BABIP is reasonably OK ... yet somehow this is a guy who over the last three years has an ERA+ of just 102. Is this your 5/$100 investment?

Dan Haren -- at least you'd be buying low. Edwin Jackson -- would probably be a good bargain. Anibal Sanchez -- see Jackson. Shields may not have his option exercised. Kyle Lohse -- you're welcome to sign him to a big contract so I don't have to worry about Chicago media pushing him on the Cubs. Matt Garza -- surely available at the right price. Felix, Lincecum, Romero? I won't say those are impossible.

We can probably all see a course (or two) ahead for the 2013-14 Red Sox. But those rely on a lot of things going right and, given what's available on the FA market, it's not clear how important the payroll room is to any of those plans. More directly relevant to the excerpt, it's not at all clear to me that any of those plans have a better chance of success (from a baseball talent standpoint) than just standing pat and seeing if Gonzalez, Beckett and Crawford bounce back.**

The trade might have improved the prospects of the 2015+ Red Sox -- getting out from under the back halves of the Crawford and Gonzalez contracts should definitely be good things.

* Upton's better than Cameron (who didn't even start until age 24), Cameron was just the first TTO excellent defender who sprang to mind.

** From Henry's perspective, I think this is a hard trade not to like. He probably didn't hurt the short-term chances of the team very much (depending on what they add), he may have improved the long-term chances and I think it's nearly certain he will find substantially more money in his pocket in 2013-14.
   2. Bruce Markusen Posted: August 27, 2012 at 09:49 PM (#4219684)
It's all fine and well to have financial flexibility, but you still need players at first base, left field, and in the rotation. It's like these NBA teams that clamor for cap space, cap space, and more cap space!!!, but then can't sign the stars they want to fill the holes. I think what the Red Sox are doing makes sense in theory, but will only be meaningful if they can sign an impact free agent and make an impact trade this off season.
   3. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 27, 2012 at 10:03 PM (#4219692)
i encourage the red sox to overpay shaun marcum to keep doug melvin from being tempted by a jeff suppan sequel
   4. karlmagnus Posted: August 27, 2012 at 10:03 PM (#4219693)
The best bet is probably not to make an impact trade/FA pickup this offseason, but lay low until there's a chance of a Pedro/Manny level player. The one upside of this trade was that AGon wasn't quite that. Signing the very best seems to me the only real point of having money; for everything else you can substitute intelligence and luck.

THAT's the skill that Duquette had and these guys have never showed (they got lucky on Ortiz, but that's not quite the same thing.)
   5. JJ1986 Posted: August 27, 2012 at 10:15 PM (#4219702)
I'm not sure the best of the best will be available in free agency in the near future. Tim Lincecum probably will, but if you want to add a Pedro-level player you probably need a trade.
   6. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 27, 2012 at 10:26 PM (#4219708)
I know most players will take the money but does this affect the desirability of Boston as a free agent destination? Free agents will have seen how players were treated by management and fans and some will want no part of that.
   7. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: August 27, 2012 at 10:33 PM (#4219710)
Just wait, Frank. The Boston media/ownership hasn't even done "The Long Kiss Goodbye" and made those three look like child pornographers yet.
   8. Mark S. is bored Posted: August 27, 2012 at 10:45 PM (#4219720)
Stupidest part of the post:

The saber community would include Wade Boggs here. Here's the problem — at the time, we didn't know he was a superstar hitter, just an awesome singles hitter. Only retroactively would Boggs get his proper due, both as an impact offensive player and for all the unintentional comedy he provided.


You have a 3B hitting .360 with 40+ doubles for 4 straight years (and finished in the top 10 of the MVP vote all four years) and you don't realize that he's a superstar hitter?
   9. Walt Davis Posted: August 27, 2012 at 10:45 PM (#4219721)
#6 ... I suppose you never know, but this is a standard MO of the Red Sox (and other orgs) and it hasn't stopped players from signing there yet.
   10. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: August 27, 2012 at 11:02 PM (#4219730)
You have a 3B hitting .360 with 40+ doubles for 4 straight years (and finished in the top 10 of the MVP vote all four years) and you don't realize that he's a superstar hitter?
I had baseball consciousness back then, and I don't recall Boggs being thought of as a superstar. Check his '87 season; AL's best hitter according to WAR, but he finished far behind George Bell for MVP. That same season, Hawk Dawson was the NL MVP, which speaks for itself as far as baseball's collective ability, at that time, to judge talent.
   11. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 27, 2012 at 11:06 PM (#4219734)
As I said, players will generally will take the money. However, it seems that the Red Sox are in danger of turning into the Yankees of the 80s and early 90s where they either have to massively overpay (which teams still do) or have free agents turn them down, like Greg Maddux.

There is so much money in the game that more teams are now able to make big contract offers to multiple players. You would think that the Rangers, Cubs and White Sox will have a lot of money to spend this off season along with the Red Sox. Plus you don't know what the Orioles, Nationals and Dodgers may do.
   12. Mark S. is bored Posted: August 27, 2012 at 11:14 PM (#4219742)
I had baseball consciousness back then, and I don't recall Boggs being thought of as a superstar. Check his '87 season; AL's best hitter according to WAR, but he finished far behind George Bell for MVP. That same season, Hawk Dawson was the NL MVP, which speaks for itself as far as baseball's collective ability, at that time, to judge talent.


The baseball writers still hadn't figured out sabermetric stats. But from my memories, Gwynn and Boggs were both considered superstar hitters (maybe not as superstar as the guys who hit more HR), but they were thought of as superstars.
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: August 27, 2012 at 11:27 PM (#4219752)

The baseball writers still hadn't figured out sabermetric stats. But from my memories, Gwynn and Boggs were both considered superstar hitters (maybe not as superstar as the guys who hit more HR), but they were thought of as superstars.


I'm with you. The full extent of his offensive prowess may not have been realized during his peak, but he was already considered elite. Sure he didn't the MVP in 1987, but it was his third straight Top 10 finish. And there was already much talk about his 200-hit, 100-walk seasons.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: August 27, 2012 at 11:50 PM (#4219769)
Boggs won 2 batting titles in his first 4 years, followed by 3 more consecutive, and he had 200+ hits in 3 of those seasons, leading the league once. Those same idiots voting for Bell and Dawson were the same idiots still calling those batting titles. Nobody can seriously argue he wasn't a recognized star.

Wait, you guys are talking even past 85? Then you're right in the teeth [EDIT: of his batting title run] and the start of his run of 12 straight AS appearances in 85 which included 11 straight starts. We can quibble over "superstar" (i.e. I don't recall him getting major national endorsement deals) but the mainstream adored Boggs. They'd have adored him more if he also stole 30-40 bases a year but so it goes.

Now the mainstream may have undervalued him or not understood that he should have been a superstar for slightly different reasons but that's a different argument. I don't recall many people thinking of him as being such a good fielder (I didn't realize it and he didn't win his first GG until 36) and, yeah, the detriment caused by his lack of SBs was over-stated.

But the man won 5 batting titles in his first 7 years, he was recognized as a hitting god.
   15. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: August 28, 2012 at 12:00 AM (#4219774)
We can makes teams of players: 1. overvalued at the time of career, legacy exposed by better understanding of stats; 2. undervalued at the time of career, legacy enhanced by a cold look at the numbers.

OVERVALUED
2B - Bobby Richardson
SS - Maury Wills
OF - Every single speedy but OBP-challenged leadoff man ever. Omar Moreno and the like.

UNDERVALUED
2B - Grich
3B - Boggs
OF - Dewey Evans
1B/OF - Darrell Evans
OFs - Henderson and Raines
   16. akrasian Posted: August 28, 2012 at 12:13 AM (#4219784)
I'd probably stick Jimmy Wynn in the undervalued list, so a centerfielder would be on the team. Although it would be tough to say who he would replace. Probably Henderson, because he's considered a great player by the mainstream, even if his reputation isn't as good as he actually was.
   17. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: August 28, 2012 at 12:17 AM (#4219785)
Good call on Wynn.

SP for the undervalued: Blyleven. HOF battle says it all.
   18. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: August 28, 2012 at 12:50 AM (#4219799)
The more I think about it, the more I think Hamilton at first base is the answer.
   19. Esoteric Posted: August 28, 2012 at 01:31 AM (#4219810)
Josh Hamilton in Boston, with the Red Sox front office behind him? What could go wrong?
   20. robinred Posted: August 28, 2012 at 01:39 AM (#4219811)
As an NBA fan, I noticed the same thing about this deal that Markusen and others surely have: this is in some ways like an NBA trade in MLB. Boston is "blowing it up to get cap space, to get off the treadmill", while LA is "going for it."

As such, I have no idea what to make of it, since baseball is so different than basketball.

I will say that I have a very hard time picturing Josh Hamilton in Boston. I think he will stay in Texas.
   21. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 28, 2012 at 02:21 AM (#4219820)
Regardless, Upton does not look like a savior. He's up to nearly 3000 PA and has a career 116 OPS+. He's an "old man" style hitter who doesn't actually add much on the bases and, while he's above-average for RF, that's not exactly a Mike Cameron level of defensive ability.* It's definitely possible Upton will go all Matt Kemp on the league in 2013-14 but, for now, he's a guy with 12 WAR over the last 4 years which is nice, but not franchise-changing and is about the same WAR pace as Gonzalez was on this year.


FanGraphs has Upton 3rd among right fielders since 2009 (including this "awful" season) with 16.3 WAR. Zobrist is #1, so Upton is 2nd to Bautista among full time right fielders.

He is #1 in base-running. Heyward is only RF with better rate.

He is #6 in fielding. 1st in range (again Heyward has better rate), below average arm and errors.

Despite his power loss, he will end up with around 2.5 WAR this year. If he returns to his average level of offense, he would be roughly a 4.8 WAR player. Upside is he improves his error rate and throwing (he has a strong arm) over time, and his offense in his prime proves closer to his peak years than the average, and he could average 6 WAR.

The downside is his power never comes back, and the tougher AL East pitching hurts him as well. But that still leaves him no worse than league average. I am skeptical he will put everything together, but I see him as low risk. If he's worse than a 4 WAR player going forward I would be shocked, no matter where he plays. He has great wheels, gets on base at a good rate, so his base running, defense and walks provide a real margin of safety against mediocrity and complete collapse.

I have no idea what the price tag will be, but remember, KT loves to overpay scrappy vets, so maybe 3 or 4 of them in a pretty basket will prove irresistible, much like a ball of yarn to a kitten.
   22. toratoratora Posted: August 28, 2012 at 02:39 AM (#4219824)
Comments:
1-As far as I recall, Boggs was seen as some kind of hitting freak, but never a true "superstar." He had the batting titles, he had all sorts of fun stats (The 200 hit, 100 walk, 100 runs scored streak, the hitting .400 from all star break to all star break, he never swung at the first pitch yet was murderous with two strikes, never missing a pitch he swung at, etc...)but didn't have the power to be considered as valuable as, say, a Mattingly.
Plus he had all those weird quirks, the chicken, his immensely complicated pregame ritual being cases in point-all of which combined to make him seen as some sort of strange anomaly-the walking, talking, hitting chickenman. And then of course the Margo Adams deal came out and it was all over.

2-I just want to point out that despite all the hoopla about replacing players, the Red Sox, with Crawford gone most of the first half and Agon in a major slump are still 2nd in the league scoring and 4th in OPS. Are they really going to be missed that much?

3-As mentioned above, the problem is the pitching. Getting rid of Beckett was a good start, getting rid of McClure an even better move. And while I know TNSTAAPP, the Sox now have the potential to throw out a nice potential little staff of Lester, Buch,De la Rosa, Webster and Horseface (Starring in the Barry Zito role) in the next few years if Lester can rebound and Clay can keep it up.
This year though, what are the chances that everything goes this sideways with a staff again? It's one thing to have some pitchers go down, have bad years, but the Sox have been annihilated. Lackey gone. Dice-K toast, Beckett has blown all year, Lester can't get out of the first, Clay struggled-that's five starters right there. Then toss in Bailey and the disaster that has been Daniel Bard and the nightmare is complete.
And the same thing happened last year too.
After two years in the trough, the Sox are due for an upswing.

4-I can't believe that I'm doing this, but I agree with KarlM here

The best bet is probably not to make an impact trade/FA pickup this offseason, but lay low until there's a chance of a Pedro/Manny level player. The one upside of this trade was that AGon wasn't quite that. Signing the very best seems to me the only real point of having money; for everything else you can substitute intelligence and luck.


I don't want to see the Sox getting back into the big dollar free agent game again. I've been processing this trade for a while and I hope that it signals a change in direction in the front office,an admission that the Sox FO lost their heads for a few years there and have made a decision to move back to the original Henry ideal of finding undervalued players and plugging them in instead of playing free agent roulette.

Now obviously this doesn't work with pitching-top pitchers cost a fortune. But if the Sox spend their money wisely, they'll have more than enough to get an ace, even if it means eating part of a Ryan Howard's contract.

But more than anything else, I think somewhere in the last few years the Sox lost their way. They came in with a game plan(Find the undervalued players, the Ortiz's, Bellhorn's and Muellers of the world, build a farm system from within, spend big bucks on the draft even if it pisses Bud off, run a smart cutting edge franchise...you know, kind of like the Rays do)but went off the wire and, succumbing to the free agent game.
It would be one thing if they'd played it well, but it's almost impossible to do it worse than Theo did.
I'm not saying that Cherington and cronies have inspired anything close to confidence with their moves(Reddick being the prime example here), but it's going to be interesting to see how he handles this in the future.
I'm excited about what's coming. The Sox have the makings of what could be a darn nice low cost staff, young talent in the pipeline, and the flexibility to make moves to improve the team.
Meanwhile, the Yankees age and the Rays players get one year closer to free agency and sayanora, Tampa.
The next decade or so should/could be a blast

   23. Walt Davis Posted: August 28, 2012 at 02:56 AM (#4219827)
Curious about the difference ...

b-r puts him 56 runs above-average on hitting, fangraphs at 70 -- why can't these two agree here?
b-r puts him +4 on baserunning, fangraphs at +11
b-r +18 on fielding, fangraphs +24
b-r puts him +64 on replacement value, fangraphs at +77

C'mon, 13 runs difference on replacement value?

I can understand disagreements over how to measure fielding and even baserunning. But we really ought to have agreements on what the baseline are for average hitting and playing time rewards. We're talking a difference of 1 win a year and 2/3 of that difference is due to the stuff we supposedly have well-sorted.

B-r puts him 4th among "RF 2009-12" (75% of games, min 1500 PA) but then there are only 13 qualifiers. Choo, Heyward, Pence, Upton, Werth, Ethier. Heyward would pull equal to Choo with the same playing time so really it says Upton = Pence for 2009-12. If you extend the comp group out to 1B/LF/RF/DH, you get 66 qualifying players with Upton in 14th (just ahead of Crawford!). Control for playing time and you can add Alex Gordon as a similar. Replace the positional restriction with the player needing to be 25 or under for this whole period and he is 6th out of 19 just behind Sandoval and (surprise!) Austin Jackson in 500 fewer PA. Adjust for PA and he'd fall behind Asdrubal Cabrera as well.

So, by b-r WAR, a very good player but not really a franchise player.

But that's not exactly my point. Like I said, Upton at 3/$39 would be an excellent player to add to any team even if he's not nearly enough to turn them from "no chance" to "good chance." But there isn't anything in this big trade that makes that any more or less possible. The Red Sox were going to have Youk, Dice-K, Jenks come off the books anyway and they could have let Ortiz walk. All told, b-r still has $42 M coming off the books, some of which will get eaten up in arb raises (but some more could be saved through non-tenders) and now presumably they bring back Ortiz.

The trick to obtaining Upton isn't being able to afford him -- everybody can afford him and AZ isn't interested in moving him for money reasons. The trick is suckering Towers.

OK, I take that back a bit. Adding the minor-league talent gives them a few more chits to trade in an Upton swap. I don't think any of the new guys can headline a Upton deal but somebody like Webster would be a good 2nd piece. So the trade did make it a bit easier to land him.

Of course the Youk trade was just flat out stupid from a money and baseball standpoint.
   24. PreservedFish Posted: August 28, 2012 at 03:00 AM (#4219829)
This 7 year old Mets fan thought that Wade Boggs was a superstar.
   25. Dale Sams Posted: August 28, 2012 at 03:14 AM (#4219831)
He was.
   26. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: August 28, 2012 at 03:26 AM (#4219838)
The baseball writers still hadn't figured out sabermetric stats.

And 25 years later, they still haven't.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: August 28, 2012 at 03:36 AM (#4219841)
4-I can't believe that I'm doing this, but I agree with KarlM here

I would too except look around -- those impact players aren't coming on the FA market anytime soon. Pretty much every stud under 31 is tied up long-term, many of them on pretty favorable terms:

Cabrera, Braun, Votto, Longoria, McCutchen, Pedroia, Heyward, Jackson, Tulo, CarGo, Stanton, Zimmerman, Gordon, Posey, Trout, Headley (I think), Castro, Harper, Kemp, Wieters, ... I may have missed somebody but I don't think there's a single good hitter who will hit FA before his age 30 year anytime sooner than 2016-17 (and they'll probably get bought out before then). Obviously you never know when some team is going to sour on a Justin Upton and I'm sure rich teams will have their shot at the remainder of some Pujols/Votto-type contract in 4-5 years. And there are some "nice" players (BJ Upton) and some guys in their early 30s (possiby Cano) but if you ain't growing a hitting superstar, you ain't buying one anytime soon (unless they come from Cuba or Japan).

Things are rosier on the pitching side but (pitchers!) riskier. You could see Verlander in 2015; Lincecum; Greinke right now; Kershaw in 2015; Price in 2016; Johnson in 2014; Kennedy in 2016; and maybe the King Felix trade.

This is the same problem I have with the Cubs, who are in even worse short-term shape than the Red Sox. The Red Sox could easily have $80, even $100 M to spend this offseason. And the Cubs aren't far behind. There ain't enough out there to spend that on even assuming all the other teams just let us buy what we want.

Finding "undervalued" players in this market will be an interesting thing to observe. It sure looks like a seller's market. Maybe especially for these two franchises that clearly understand and buy into the new stats somewhat. "C'mon Theo, err I mean Jed, we both know this guy had 9 WAR over the last 3 years and you're still sitting on $50 M in January (and the Red Sox on $70 and Seattle's payroll is down to $10 M plus Felix). You ain't getting a bargain here."

b-r's salary stuff is a little weird at the moment. Gonzalez et al have already been removed from the Red Sox payroll page but Dempster et al are still sitting there for the Cubs. But the Cub payroll for 2013 appears to be down to $52 plus whatever we owe Castro in the first year. This is assuming no Garza trade and that we have enough sense to non-tender Volstad, Wells and Stewart (possibly re-signing Volstad and Wells at $1 M each).
   28. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 28, 2012 at 04:26 AM (#4219846)
The trick to obtaining Upton isn't being able to afford him -- everybody can afford him and AZ isn't interested in moving him for money reasons. The trick is suckering Towers.

OK, I take that back a bit. Adding the minor-league talent gives them a few more chits to trade in an Upton swap. I don't think any of the new guys can headline a Upton deal but somebody like Webster would be a good 2nd piece. So the trade did make it a bit easier to land him.

Of course the Youk trade was just flat out stupid from a money and baseball standpoint.


Towers doesnt want minor leagures unless they are close to 30 years old. i am still shocked the Sox werent able to swap Youk for Upton straight up, perhaps Tower also asked them to throw in a fungible reliever and Cherington refused to call back, convinced Towers was just ####### with him.

Remember, there is a good chance we are seeing Upton at his nadir. if he completely recovers his power, hes a guy that averaged nearly 5 fWar and 4 bWar from ages 21-23, so you would think a healthy Upton in his prime still has superstar potential. Given his speed his next team should try him in center, even if he doesnt improve his bobbles and throws, he will get to a ton of balls and his bat would be plus plus plus for the position.
   29. Dan Posted: August 28, 2012 at 05:27 AM (#4219853)
His speed and range would play well in RF at Fenway, which is as expansive as some CFs (though obviously fewer balls are hit to RF than CF regardless of park). He seems to be a good fit for the Red Sox and their home field, unlike Crawford.
   30. God Posted: August 28, 2012 at 05:33 AM (#4219855)
I grew up in the '80s. The folks who remember Boggs not being considered a superstar were/are smoking crack.
   31. Bitter Mouse Posted: August 28, 2012 at 09:02 AM (#4219913)
After thinking about it for a while I suspect that the big trade may actually end up hurting both ball clubs long term. I can see the gamble on both sides, but the risk is the Dodgers lock themselves into expensive contracts and then continue to try to buy their way out. The Red Sox have flexibility, but there is not much available in the immediate future and may end up having to pocket that flexibility, overpay, or do a reverse trade and collect bad contracts to get more talent.

As always it depends on how lucky and smart the two front offices are.
   32. Walt Davis Posted: August 28, 2012 at 09:06 AM (#4219918)
Absolutely Upton still has superstar potential. I wasn't kidding about the Kemp comp -- Kemp 22-25: 288/339/474, 115 OPS+ and (ignoring the ridiculous -37 Rfield in 2010) about 12 WAR.

The DBacks are nuts if they trade Upton without getting awesome return. Even if he is 2012 Upton, that's still worth 3/$39 or close enough to take the chance. And any GM who isn't trying to rip off Towers this offseason should have his Hawk Harrelson Club card taken away.

I'm sorry I distracted the main point with the Upton aside. I was only trying to point out that, rather than some sure thing that makes the Sox vastly better in the future, he's got a profile not unlike AGon from 2009-12 ... looked awesome, having a "tough" year, power outage, grumbling management. Again, in a strict baseball sense. He will probably be better than AGon over the next 3 years but it's far from a guarantee. And since he's still "cheap" for 3 years, clearing payroll doesn't make it more likely the Sox get him.
   33. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 28, 2012 at 09:06 AM (#4219919)
My recollection is that while Boggs was considered a star he was a bit of a step down from the "true stars" like Rice because of the lack of power. He got a lot of criticism in Boston for being only out for himself and for his defense (particularly early in his career when he was legitimately bad).
   34. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 28, 2012 at 09:15 AM (#4219924)
And since he's still "cheap" for 3 years, clearing payroll doesn't make it more likely the Sox get him.
Right. And as you say, he should be very expensive in talent. The Red Sox had barely enough payroll room to add Upton (those $19M savings are basically all ticketed to arb and long-term contract raises). If the Sox were near-certain they could add Upton for little cost, I'd probably argue they should have held off on the big salary dump. I think it's very unlikely that Upton will come cheap, and without getting a star / superstar on short money, the Red Sox were quite unlikely to seriously contend in 2013.

One other point worth noting here is that the new Wild Card system makes things a lot tougher for the Sox. If they don't want to end up in a crapshoot one-game playoff, they have to beat the Yankees. The Sox need to be shooting for at least 95 wins per season, and even if they could have added Upton on the cheap, they'd still project more like 90-92 wins. I think it'd be worth it, given the upside potential of the roster, but that's in a best-case scenario where someone makes a really dumb trade and the Sox benefit.
   35. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: August 28, 2012 at 09:29 AM (#4219939)
"And look, I get it — listening to Boston fans b*tch about sports is like listening to John Mayer b*tch about his love life."

"But we're going to do it anyway, because we're whiny b*tches by nature and we just can't help ourselves."
   36. PJ Martinez Posted: August 28, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4219957)
But of course the Sox main problem (at least until Ortiz stops his Edgar impersonation) is the pitching.

I just want to point out that despite all the hoopla about replacing players, the Red Sox, with Crawford gone most of the first half and Agon in a major slump are still 2nd in the league scoring and 4th in OPS. Are they really going to be missed that much?

Hasn't it already been pointed out dozens of times on this very website that Fenway has been an extreme hitters' park this year and that Boston's team OPS+ is only 100, while its team ERA+ is 102?

The 2012 Red Sox have been mediocre both at the plate and on the mound, almost equally so.
   37. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: August 28, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4220015)
How often was Wade Boggs considered the best player on his own team? From my memory, the leaders of the Red Sox were Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, and Roger Clemens.
   38. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 28, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4220024)
How often was Wade Boggs considered the best player on his own team? From my memory, the leaders of the Red Sox were Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, and Roger Clemens.

Clemens and Boggs is apples and oranges. No one thought Rice or Evan were better than Boggs unless they were nuts. Especially Evans who was massively underappreciated. Rice was in his twilight when Boggs burst onto the scene. I was an A's fan in California and I was excited about Boggs. Boggs was a big enough star to get 60 Minutes to cover his sex scandal. That, my friends, is star power!
   39. Nasty Nate Posted: August 28, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4220036)
There are always ways to use money to acquire talent in MLB. I repeat, there are always ways to use money to acquire talent in MLB.

I posted this in another thread but I will repeat: In the past couple of seasons, the following teams have used money to acquire mlb-ready talent from outside their system: Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, Tigers, Rangers, Angels, A's, Nationals, Phillies, Marlins, Brewers, Giants, and Dodgers. Almost all of the rest of the teams were not trying to buy talent because of lack of money or lack of a need.
   40. PJ Martinez Posted: August 28, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4220037)
Yeah, Boggs was a big deal. He wasn't a "slugger," but then Nomar wasn't either. So I don't know what Simmons is thinking.
   41. toratoratora Posted: August 28, 2012 at 11:09 AM (#4220038)
My recollection is that while Boggs was considered a star he was a bit of a step down from the "true stars" like Rice because of the lack of power. He got a lot of criticism in Boston for being only out for himself and for his defense (particularly early in his career when he was legitimately bad).


Plus Boggs was considered slow. He ran like a cement block, got on base all the timer, and darn it all, it's all Wade's fault that big Jim Ed grounds into all those DP's.
And I know it sounds uber insane now, but the above was actually a pretty prominently held school of thought in the mid 80's.

Now in fairness, it should be mentioned that Boggs always complained that the main reason he wasn't a power hitter was that the Sox (rightly) batted him leadoff. For years he said, "Hit me deeper in the order and I can hit the Poo-bah." As he, like Ichiro always had great BP power, he was kinda, sorta, maybe a little bit, believed.

But before 87 he got into a bad contract dispute, and somehow convinced the Sox to hit him 3rd that year. Boggs responded with the best year of his life, hit .363 with 40 doubles and 24 HR's.

So the Sox in their infinite wisdom moved him back to leadoff the next year.


And Walt-I hear you. There aren't that many impact players coming, but I'm not sure I want the Sox targeting em anyways. I'd much rather see the team build a strong deep franchise consisting of a number of above average players built around a few very good to superstar players (Pedroia, Ellsbury for example) and then wait and bottom feed. Every year there's some team that goes all in, signs a bunch of guys, then disappoints and starts shedding contracts(like the Sox this year). Do some bottom feeding there. Not top shelf stuff, but midrange players that can provide real value and who, if they don't work out, won't cripple the team with bad contracts.

The Yanks are masters at this-think of all the midseason "trades" they do that are often salary dumps by the other team-that got them Swish and Granderson (Though in fairness they gave up a lot for Curtis, but the main reason Detroit was dumping him was salary).
   42. PreservedFish Posted: August 28, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4220050)
I would too except look around -- those impact players aren't coming on the FA market anytime soon. Pretty much every stud under 31 is tied up long-term, many of them on pretty favorable terms:

Cabrera, Braun, Votto, Longoria, McCutchen, Pedroia, Heyward, Jackson, Tulo, CarGo, Stanton, Zimmerman, Gordon, Posey, Trout, Headley (I think), Castro, Harper, Kemp, Wieters, ... I may have missed somebody but I don't think there's a single good hitter who will hit FA before his age 30 year anytime sooner than 2016-17 (and they'll probably get bought out before then).


I think this is the most under-reported story in baseball right now.
   43. SoSH U at work Posted: August 28, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4220052)
Plus Boggs was considered slow. He ran like a cement block, got on base all the timer, and darn it all, it's all Wade's fault that big Jim Ed grounds into all those DP's.


To be fair, Boggs was slow, ran like a cement block*, got on base all the time and (along with the similar slow-of-foot on-base machine Dewey) was a major factor why Jim Ed ground into all those double plays.

* He probably improved over time, but he really was a dreadful baserunner during his early years. He had absolutely no instincts on the basepaths.

   44. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: August 28, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4220062)

Clemens and Boggs is apples and oranges.


I don't think so, not when we're talking about superstardom. Any media oxygen taken up by one player is that much less for another.

I think a good comp for Boggs is Rafael Palmeiro, whom I also would never call a "superstar."
   45. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 28, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4220080)
I was an A's fan in California and I was excited about Boggs. Boggs was a big enough star to get 60 Minutes to cover his sex scandal. That, my friends, is star power!

Back in 1990 or so I knew about five facts about current baseball players, and one of them was Wade Boggs's obsession with eating chicken. That's star power!
   46. PJ Martinez Posted: August 28, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4220099)
But before 87 he got into a bad contract dispute, and somehow convinced the Sox to hit him 3rd that year. Boggs responded with the best year of his life, hit .363 with 40 doubles and 24 HR's.

So the Sox in their infinite wisdom moved him back to leadoff the next year.


Wasn't 1987 one of the great offensive years in MLB history? I'm not sure lineup order and a contract dispute were the big factors here.
   47. toratoratora Posted: August 28, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4220106)
Oh I know-all of which worked against Wade. The one year he gets a chance to hit 3rd and Boom, everyone in the league goes nuts.
But he did call it before the year, then went out and jacked his power numbers.

I don't want to sound like I'm knocking Boggs-he was one of my favorite players ever. I used to wager Boggs against the league for the batting title, won a fair bit of money on him. And I loved to watch him hit. God, he had a pretty swing.
Boggs had serious BP power,he could blast balls, but in games he tended to flick balls off the monster, instant double or slap singles.
   48. booond Posted: August 28, 2012 at 12:14 PM (#4220119)
Re: Justin Upton. Not sure this has been mentioned but he has a no-trade to Boston. They may have to toss him a few dubloons to move him off that.
   49. Mattbert Posted: August 28, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4220125)
I'd much rather see the team build a strong deep franchise consisting of a number of above average players built around a few very good to superstar players (Pedroia, Ellsbury for example)

Both those guys will be 29 to open next season and have missed significant time to injury in two of the last three years.
   50. Nasty Nate Posted: August 28, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4220127)
Is 29 old now?
   51. toratoratora Posted: August 28, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4220242)
Well, Pedroia is definitely in Boston for a while barring a trade. I'm far from sold on Ellsbury, I was just using him as an example. Between his injuries, his not so wonderful relationship with the FO, and most of all, the fact that Boros is his agent and I think he may end up too costly to take that kind of risk.
Upton (Justin, not BJ) would be ideal. But I'd also be open to others.

As NastyNate pointed out above, talent comes available. The Sox need to do a better job of evaluating the guys they choose to target.
   52. AROM Posted: August 28, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4220246)
Plus Boggs was considered slow. He ran like a cement block, got on base all the timer, and darn it all, it's all Wade's fault that big Jim Ed grounds into all those DP's.
And I know it sounds uber insane now, but the above was actually a pretty prominently held school of thought in the mid 80's.

Now in fairness, it should be mentioned that Boggs always complained that the main reason he wasn't a power hitter was that the Sox (rightly) batted him leadoff. For years he said, "Hit me deeper in the order and I can hit the Poo-bah." As he, like Ichiro always had great BP power, he was kinda, sorta, maybe a little bit, believed.

But before 87 he got into a bad contract dispute, and somehow convinced the Sox to hit him 3rd that year. Boggs responded with the best year of his life, hit .363 with 40 doubles and 24 HR's.

So the Sox in their infinite wisdom moved him back to leadoff the next year.


Boggs' power surge and return to earth had nothing to do with batting order position. They moved him in response to his power, his power did not respond to batting order changes.

In 1988, he started the year as a #3 hitter, as if the team believed his power was for real. Through the first 48 games he had 1 homer and a .480 OBP. They moved him back to leadoff.

He didn't always hit leadoff before that either. In 1986 he was the #2 hitter until moving to leadoff in August. In 1985 he was leadoff the first half, #2 the second half. In 1984 he hit #3 for the first month of the season, and not a single homer. He ended the year batting leadoff. In 1983 he was the leadoff man in April, then spent 2 months batting 5th, of all places. He finished as the #2 hitter.

If all he needed to be a power hitter was to be free of the responsibilities of leadoff man, he had ample time to do that early in his career. He didn't. The reason he hit 24 in 1987 was simply that it was 1987. It was a crazy year. Jack Howell hit 23. John Shelby hit 22. Even Rafael Belliard hit one. It was a fluke year. Simple as that.
   53. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: August 28, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4220249)
Oh I know-all of which worked against Wade. The one year he gets a chance to hit 3rd and Boom, everyone in the league goes nuts.


I don't think that 1987 worked against Boggs. Without the juiced ball he doesn't hit 24 home runs, just his usual 363/461/490.

His problem was still the fact that on base skills weren't valued as highly as they should have been.

EDIT: Sorta Coke to AROM. Just FWIW, this is home runs/game, 1985-1989:

Year   AL    NL
1985 4.11  3.24
1986 4.33  3.36
1987 4.91  3.84
1988 3.52  2.82
1989 3.08  2.93 


You can't prove it, but it was widely assumed at the time that they'd juiced the ball, then overcorrected in '88.
   54. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 28, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4220265)
As a kid, I remember when Boston came to town it was "Wade Boggs and the Red Sox", which meant he was a star. And that was when Mike Greenwell was putting up his MVP-esque season.

Of course, I also thought it was "Joe Carter and the Indians."
   55. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: August 28, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4220271)
"Is 29 old now?"

It's not young, especially for a 2B.
   56. bfan Posted: August 28, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4220305)
the tougher AL East pitching hurts him as well.


Huh? He leaves the Giants; Kershaw/Dodgers; San Diego; and Colorado (okay, they are bad), for what tough AL East pitching? Not the Yankees; not the Red Sox; not the Blue Jays; not the Orioles. The Rays, I admit, do pitch well. I would be the 1st to admit the AL East is very good, but not because of its pitching.
   57. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 28, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4220344)
Yeah, Boggs was a big deal. He wasn't a "slugger," but then Nomar wasn't either. So I don't know what Simmons is thinking.


Nomar has twice as many home runs and an extra 80 points on his slugging average as a SS instead of a 3B. He's 8th all time in HR's at SS. He most certainly is a 'slugger'.

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